Crime and Punishment at first is a daunting novel. With its sheer size alone, at 551 pages, combined with the dense writing style of Dostoevsky the initial sitting can leave one wonder how anyone ever finishes this hefty novel. However, the reasons soon become clear as you breeze through anxious to see where the next turn will take you. This psychological thriller aspect is also what leads to such a close examination of Raskolnikov's thoughts. It is not until part three that we are given the core idea that drives him to murder. Prior to his encounter with Porfiry beginning on page 248 the reader is left only with conjecture as to what drove him to murder of Alyona and Lizaveta Ivanovna. We see that he is ill and destitute, both good reasons to murder for money. We also have the dream with the horse starting on page 54 that at the very least gives rise to his brutal method of murder. It is clear in the exchange between Porfiry and Raskolvikov that Porfiry believes this idea hinted at in Raskolnikov's article is what drove him to murder. P...
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...hing, that it still had to be dearly bought, to be paid for with a great future deed.." that Dostoevsky suggests a future "new word" from Raskolnikov.
This shows that an idea like Raskolnikov's ordinary and extraordinary people can lead to horrible things like his murder of the two women but also hints at the fact it in the future may lead to a "great future deed". It is especially interesting to see that the idea put forth by Dostoevsky in the end is one of love being a transformative force. That this love comes from the severely religious Sonya, mirrors the idea of Christ's "new word" being love. Through careful examination of Raskolnikov's idea and its use as a metric for looking at the character one is better able to understand the novel, the character, and the possible larger implications of that message.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
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